ROANOKE COUNTY, Va. – Current and former officials with Roanoke County schools are now facing a $19 million lawsuit.
Two former students are suing the Roanoke County School Board, Northside High School administrators and a former coach for violating Title IX guidelines.
The lawsuit, which was filed in federal court on Tuesday, details how the two female students, referred to as Jane Doe 1 and Jane Doe 2, were allegedly groomed and sexually abused by Lorstan Allen.
During the time both Jane Does went to Northside, Allen was an IT specialist, a boys head soccer coach and boys wrestling coach.
Jane Doe 1 attended Northside High School from August 2015 to May 2019 while Jane Doe was a student from August 2017 to May 2021.
According to the lawsuit, Allen “regularly used his position as IT Specialist to call female students out of class to come to his office.”
Allegedly, he would invite female students, including the Jane Does, to see him during their study breaks, lunch breaks or any free time they had while on school grounds. Allen would also offer the female students rides home or to the soccer field after school, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit states that Allen would ask for their phone numbers and ask to be friends on social media platforms, including Snapchat, Facebook and Instagram. He allegedly exhibited “predatory behavior” by calling them out of class, encouraging them to spend time with him behind closed doors in his office and engaging “in lengthy phone calls” with the girls on evenings and weekends.
The two Northside High School alumni claim that Allen’s efforts to create a connection with these female students “groom them for sexual abuse.”
Both Jane Does, on different occasions, said if they didn’t go to his office when he asked them to, he would abuse his power as an IT specialist and remotely control their computers, causing them to malfunction so they could come to his office.
During Jane Doe 1′s sophomore and junior year, the lawsuit details multiple instances that claim Allen would inappropriately touch, kiss or sexually abuse her against her wishes. Another instance states Allen verbally told Jane Doe 1 that she could do sexual acts to him.
In 2017 during Jane Doe 1′s junior year, the lawsuit claims that Northside’s resource officer monitored surveillance footage that showed Jane Doe 1 was in Allen’s office for more than two hours with the door closed.
Officials said at the time, Assistant Principal Laurie McCracken met with Allen about his “predatory behaviors,” but no action was taken besides installing a swinging half-door in his office. Allen was also reportedly told to keep his door open while students were in his office.
McCracken also tried to create a policy that students couldn’t cross a certain “line” in Allen’s office, but no Northside employees ever enforced it.
The Jane Does said other staff members were aware that Allen continued to shut his door when either of the girls was visiting him.
According to the lawsuit, Northside administrators, teachers coaches and other staff were aware of Allen’s “inappropriate relationships with female students enrolled at Northside, including Jane Does 1 and 2, and spent inordinate time with them at school and beyond school grounds.”
Both Jane Does say that staff members never questioned or made sure the girls were safe even if they knew of Allen’s inappropriate behavior.
At the end of the 2019 school year when Jane Doe 1 graduated, the lawsuit says that Jane Doe 2′s grooming by Allen escalated into “sexual harassment, abuse, and unwanted touching” that only worsened during the summer and into 2020.
The lawsuit states that Allen would ask Jane Doe 2 about her sex life, made comments about students and teachers he wanted to have sex with, and explicitly detailed sexual acts he wanted to do to Jane Doe 2.
Jane Doe 2 said Allen even asked her to send him photos of her in her underwear or bikini in 2019 and 2020, and would make comments about her body, calling her “cute,” “sexy,” “hot,” and “curvy.”
In the fall of 2020 during Jane Doe 2′s senior year, the lawsuit says she told her parents about Allen after the “stalking and abusive behaviors became so extreme.” Jane Doe 2 said she tried cutting Allen out of her life, but he continued to abuse his power as IT specialist by making her computer malfunction so she could go to his office.
Documents show Jane Doe 2′s father met with Assistant Principal Christopher Morris in November 2020. While Morris showed concern and offered to help Jane Doe 2 with her computer, the lawsuit said no action was taken and Morris told Jane Doe 2 he doesn’t remember his conversation with her father.
After that conversation, Principal Jill Green called Jane Doe 2′s father and told him not to worry about Allen, implying that Northside would take action against the IT specialist and coach, according to the lawsuit. However, like the last instance, the lawsuit says no action was taken.
The lawsuit states that there was no effort in investigating Allen for his behavior even though the administration and staff were aware of it.
The plaintiffs are asking for a judgment in the form of $19 million against Allen, the Roanoke County School Board and Northside High School administrators.
On Nov. 14, 2021, Northside Athletics announced Trey Noell as the new boys’ soccer coach, and Roanoke County school officials say Allen has not been an employee of the district since Nov. 15, 2021.
We’ve reached out to Roanoke County Public Schools for comment but the district’s Director of Community Relations Chuck Lionberger told 10 News the school board does not comment on matters of litigation.